Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Handbook 2010

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1 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Handbook 2010

2 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Handbook The State of Queensland (Queensland Studies Authority) 2010 Queensland Studies Authority 154 Melbourne Street South Brisbane PO Box 307 Spring Hill QLD 4004 Australia Phone: (07) Fax: (07) Website:

3 Contents Foreword Considerations when offering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Protocol for consultation Sensitive issues Language use and terminology Appropriate Aboriginal terminology Appropriate Torres Strait Islander terminology Sharing knowledge about sacred sites and ceremonies Establishing a supportive climate Welcome to Country and Acknowledgment of Country Countering racism in schools Local area studies Suggested strategies for studying the local area Teaching culture Managing and processing information Approaches Selecting and evaluating resources Ethical research in Indigenous studies Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander guest speakers Oral histories Sample consent form for interview... 59

4 Foreword In keeping with its Indigenous perspectives affirmation, the Queensland Studies Authority is committed to reconciliation in Australia. As part of its commitment, the QSA affirms that: Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people are the Indigenous peoples of Australia. Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people speak diverse languages and dialects, other than English. All students within Queensland schools should have access to the valued Indigenous knowledges that exist throughout Australia. Professional learning is a critical element of developing an understanding and appreciation of Indigenous perspectives and their application within educational contexts. QSA s products and services aim to provide a balanced representation of cultural, social, spiritual and political beliefs, respectful of the diversity of Indigenous histories and peoples. Success of Aboriginal students and Torres Strait Islander students is supported by successful embedding of Indigenous perspectives into the curriculum and assessment of student achievement. This handbook is a product that reflects this commitment to a balanced and respectful representation of Indigenous histories and peoples. It contains the following sections: 1. Considerations when offering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies 2. Establishing a supportive climate 3. Local area studies 4. Managing and processing information. The handbook can be a resource and guide for schools: offering the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies senior syllabus embedding Indigenous perspectives across the curriculum implementing a whole-school policy on Indigenous education. The handbook informs local area studies and community engagement that are fundamental to Aboriginal studies and Torres Strait Islander studies. It provides guidance on how content can be selected, framed and transformed in ways that render meaningful learning experiences for students. It also provides further ideas and elaborations on material to support delivery and assessment of the study encompassed by the senior syllabus. Original materials have been reproduced with copyright permission where required. Views and advice contained in these materials have been included in good faith and should not be taken as indicating endorsement by the Queensland Studies Authority. 2 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Handbook

5 1. Considerations when offering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies This section of the handbook provides advice on offering the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies senior syllabus so that a course is responsive to various social, cultural and political factors. 1.1 Protocol for consultation Protocol for working with the local community should be observed by both teachers and students. 1. Extensive consultation must take place before students go into the community to research. Part of this process should be detailed briefings on how to interact with, and conduct interviews with, community members. The briefings should be conducted by community members with a teacher present. Be aware that protocols may vary from group to group and from one island group to another. 2. A crucial ethical question is, Who owns the information? The information the students gain from Indigenous people is intellectual property owned by those community people it is their cultural information they are sharing. If inappropriate assumptions are carried into interactions with the local community, unintentional offence may occur. 3. The school should ensure that the community is well informed about the purposes of any research, and how the information will be stored or used after the research is concluded. As part of their local area project in Year 12, students could present the results of their research to the community, provided both the school and the community are in agreement. This can be done in a number of ways, e.g. with a performance or a research document. The nature of presentation should be negotiated between the student, teacher and community. 4. All parties should be mindful that ideas are likely to change as knowledge and understanding grow. Flexibility and guidance are important. It is advisable not to change what has been approved without taking the proposed changes to the community for consultation. 5. Payment for interviews and/or presentations is a matter for consideration by the respective local communities. Schools may need to budget accordingly and negotiate payment before activities start. 6. Reference should be made to the publications in this handbook. The following websites provide information on social, cultural and language protocols to consider when engaging with Indigenous communities. Australia Council (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Board) Indigenous Culture Protocols <www.copyright.org.au/specialinterest/indigenous.htm> This website contains information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and arts organisations, and others interested in Indigenous culture, Indigenous intellectual property and traditional knowledge. Queensland Studies Authority June

6 Australia Council for the Arts Indigenous Arts Protocols <www.australiacouncil.gov.au/research/aboriginal_and_torres_strait_islander_arts> The website outlines protocols in Indigenous literature, visual arts and craft, music, performing arts and new media. Each protocol or culture is one in a series of five Indigenous protocol guides published by the Australia Council s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board. The guides reflect the complexity of Indigenous Australian culture, and provide information and advice on respecting Indigenous cultural heritage. Australian Film Commission: Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights and Protocols: Protocol for Filmmakers Working with Indigenous Content and Communities <www.afc.gov.au/funding/indigenous/icip/default.aspx> This section of the Australian Film Commission website contains the working documents as they develop protocols for filmmakers working with Indigenous content and communities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services <www.atsip.qld.gov.au/everybodys-business> Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy includes Protocols for Consultation and Negotiation with Aboriginal People and Mina Mir Lo Ailan Mun: Proper Communication with Torres Strait Islander Peoples. It provides a series of resources for communication and consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. FATSIL Guide to Community Protocols for Indigenous Language Projects 2004 <www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/tk/en/folklore/creative_heritage/docs/fatsil_protocol_guide.p df> This protocols guide, provided by the Federation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages (FATSIL), is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their consultants. The FATSIL guide covers protocols for producing language materials at a local level. Indigenous Portal Federal Government <www.indigenous.gov.au> A collection of cultural protocols. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library and Information Resources Network (ATSILIRN) protocols <www1.aiatsis.gov.au/atsilirn/home/index.html> This site provides protocols that are intended to guide libraries, archives and information services in appropriate ways to interact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the communities which the organisations serve, and to handle materials with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content. Listen, learn and respect: Indigenous cultural protocols and radio Janke, Terri and Guivarra, Nancia <http://aftrs.edu.au/explore/library.aspx> The Australian Film Television and Radio School offers this paper which sets out some of the major Indigenous cultural protocols that require consideration in radio practice. The issues discussed include interviewing Indigenous people, reporting the news, relevant codes of practice and the use of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property. 4 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Handbook

7 Message Stick: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Online (Australian Broadcasting Commission) Cultural Protocol <www.abc.net.au/indigenous/education/cultural_protocol.htm> Message Stick has produced this Indigenous Protocol site to assist journalists, filmmakers, producers and documentary makers in understanding the importance of abiding by Indigenous Protocols. NAVA (National Association for the Visual Arts) Indigenous Visual Arts Protocols <www.visualarts.net.au/advicecentre/protocols> This website provides a document titled Valuing art, Respecting culture which offers protocols for working with the Australian Indigenous visual arts and craft sector. NSW Government Policy Guidelines for Aboriginal Cultural Performance <www.daa.nsw.gov.au/policies/policyreeperformance.html> The website features guidelines developed by the NSW State Government for agencies to consider when engaging Aboriginal people in cultural performances, or when conducting a Welcome to Country or other Aboriginal cultural protocol. Protocols for Native American Archival Materials <www2.nau.edu/libnap-p/protocols.html> The website gives valuable advice regarding research protocols that can be found in the publication Guidelines for Ethical Research in Indigenous Studies, from the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Studies. Respecting Cultures, Working with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community and Aboriginal Artists <www.arts.tas.gov.au/textonly.aspx?id=499> The Arts Tasmania website offers a publication, Respecting Cultures, which promotes cultural harmony and goodwill though best practice methods in communication and interaction. Australian Government Screen Australia <www.screenaustralia.gov.au/documents/sa_publications/indig_protocols.pdf> Pathways and Protocols: A filmmaker s guide to working with Indigenous people, culture and concepts can be downloaded from the Australian Government Screen Australia website. Victorian Local Government Association Consultation and Engagement with Indigenous and Aboriginal People <www.vlgaconsultation.org.au/indigenous.shtml> This website provides some useful consultation guidelines, with links to further information. Western Australia Heritage and Culture Protocols <http://pals.dia.wa.gov.au/protocols.aspx> The website contains communication and social protocols developed by the Western Australian State Government. Queensland Studies Authority June

8 1.2 Sensitive issues The following information is not meant to instruct a teacher on what to do in a given situation. It may be better to interact with one community in one way and with another community in a different way. Some problems will have more than one answer, and some problems may have no obvious answer. However, the guidelines will assist teachers in making decisions about the best way to approach a negotiation or consultation. As the syllabus suggests, Aboriginal studies and Torres Strait Islander studies are not only concerned with historical events and contemporary happenings, but more important, they are concerned with people. Consequently, consideration of and sensitivity towards Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples are essential in the delivery of a subject in classrooms, and in the collaboration with local communities that is fundamental to the success of the subject. The teaching of culture is the responsibility of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples only. Teachers, however, need to be aware of these issues and practices, as circumstances may arise in classroom management where adhering to the protocols of one (or more) of these issues is required, e.g. student relationships, absenteeism, content etc. Cultural practices and issues that are sensitive to Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples may include: Men s Business Women s Business Death Language avoidance / avoidance behaviour Kinship Secret/sacred knowledge Traditional adoption Identity The Dreaming Before Before Time Before Time Kulai Tonar Zogo Time. Because of the diversity within and between Aboriginal cultures and Torres Strait Islander cultures, protocols will vary and teachers are encouraged to be aware of the sensitivity surrounding these issues and to consult with appropriate local Aboriginal community members and Torres Strait Islander community members to discuss any matters that arise Sensitive issues in Aboriginal cultures Teaching aspects of culture, namely traditional practices, spiritual and sacred knowledge, is the responsibility of Aboriginal people only. The organising principle of cultures refers to a broad understanding of Indigenous cultural diversity that exists throughout Australia. This understanding of Indigenous culture can be viewed as outside knowledge. Although specific cultural teachings will be conducted through guest speakers, community visits and senior people, teachers need to be aware of sensitive issues and practices. In 6 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Handbook

9 certain circumstances, Western education inquiry methods may intrude into what is regarded as inside knowledge. When dealing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, it is imperative that clear and open communication is initiated, instigated and renewed each year. This should be part of the planning and implementation cycle. When planning classroom activities, teachers may need to follow a particular protocol that relates to, for example, student relationships or curriculum content. There are implications for planning cycles. When students take cultural leave, there may well be an impact on a school s teaching plan. When this happens, to avoid disadvantaging either the students or a student s work group, teachers may need to adjust their teaching practices, especially during practical activities and assessment. Key concepts Inside knowledge secret and sacred knowledge Outside knowledge Business Men s Business Women s Business Cultural understandings Ceremonies: rites of passage initiation education increase (to do with food sources / sustenance) Sacred sites (protocols for accessing sites) Forbidden images Lore Implications Inside knowledge is knowledge (beliefs, customary practices and spiritual understandings) that is known, taught and passed down within an Aboriginal community. This knowledge is not to be shared with people outside of a defined group, which may be the immediate language group, family or community. Outside knowledge refers to knowledge that may be shared outside these communities for a specific purpose or context. For example, a traditional artwork may have many layers of knowledge. Outside knowledge may be shared with viewers of the artwork, but inside knowledge will never be explained to people out side of the group from which the art originated. Specific terms related to cultural knowledge (e.g. initiation) should not be discussed in a classroom situation. The term business describes the relational processes associated with specific patterns and movements within and between communities. It is used to describe the responsibilities and obligations of both men and women. At all times, the practice relating to Men s Business and Women s Business is divided. Both Men s Business and Women s Business are valid and are an integral part of the balanced Aboriginal life. The interrelationships between Men s Business and Women s Business substantiates the completeness of community. In Aboriginal communities there are certain sanctions for dealing with people who breach protocols for Women s Business and Men s Business, or who share inside knowledge inappropriately. Specific actions may include punishment by spiritual and local lore. Queensland Studies Authority June

10 Key concepts Cultural knowledge Cultural understandings Cultural knowledge could relate to: special places texts both written and non-written created by Aboriginal people ceremonies paintings (ground/bark/cave/traditional) texts created by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people body design texts by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people belonging to the now art symbology carved trees / scar trees Implications Cultural knowledge refers to the body of knowledge that is maintained and continued through Aboriginal communities in modes and mediums that community members see fit. In the Aboriginal worldview there are restrictions on who can access knowledge (see inside/outside knowledge). Key concepts Sorry Business Cultural understandings Mourning Grief Loss Implications Sorry Business people who are related to the deceased are required to fulfil certain obligations in the funerary ceremonies. These obligations vary from group to group. The time and length of mourning periods and ceremonies differ from community to community, and family to family. Indigenous students may be absent for days or weeks during these periods and guest speakers may not be available. Using images of deceased people and using the names of deceased people breaches cultural protocols for some Indigenous communities. Please take care. In published materials, you will notice that there are disclaimers that reflect this cultural practice, e.g. ABC and SBS Indigenous programming protocols. An Aboriginal student or other individual in the community may change his or her name after the death of an individual in their community who shared the same name. There are many variations of how Sorry Business may be dealt with. 8 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Handbook

11 Key concepts Living patterns of relationships Cultural understandings Position of relations and relationships, e.g. mother-in-law / son-in-law avoidance Body language Implications Embedded within Aboriginal cultures are certain terms, behaviours and protocols that outline specific obligations, responsibilities and actions towards family members and others. Every community has different protocols for relating to members of that community, and these must be acknowledged. In some Aboriginal communities, a man may not talk directly to his mother-in-law; in other communities, a young woman may not talk directly to a senior man, but must communicate through a senior woman. Non-Indigenous teachers and students need to understand whether they should follow a particular process to meet with senior people or knowledge holders within the community. An important part of living relationships is reciprocity; instigating or maintaining a healthy relationship between school and community is an active reciprocal arrangement. Key concepts Kinship Language terms Cultural understandings Use of kinship terms Totemic relationships Cultural and spiritual obligations Language names / special expressions for particular terms of kinship are specific to each family / clan group. These can include matters relating to: skin moieties. Language protocols Implications Kinship is a term that describes family relationships and ties within a community. Aboriginal kinship rules and lore are diverse and they are rooted in history and traditions. Some communities maintain strong traditional kinship ties, while others maintain strong kinship ties based on social and family histories. Principles of kinship, community connectedness and obligation continue despite policies of colonisation, assimilation and protection. Teachers need to be aware of each student s kinship and how they relate within their families, in terms of reference, obligations and language use. For example, a student may have a significant role within a mourning ceremony because of their kinship with the deceased, although the family relationship may not seem immediate as defined in a Western legal sense, e.g. it may be the cousin s cousin s brother who passed away. Respect needs to be accorded to these relationships. Language terms for describing kinship are often complicated. It is important to show respect for naming and reference protocols. In some Aboriginal communities there are no terms such as uncle or cousin ; the terms used are mother s brother, brother, sister. Relationships may be either actual (blood relations) or classificatory. Teachers should understand that these terms belong to the relational context and are not for general use. Aboriginal traditional language terms may be used to describe family relationships. These will differ between communities. Aboriginal kinship ties relate to patterns of people and how their relationships form and move. They may highlight kin Queensland Studies Authority June

12 relationships that may be named through animal, plant or spiritual totems. They are regarded as important inside knowledge for the particular community. These naming rights carry cultural obligations for protecting and maintaining totems, practices and stories. Although this may be shared within a learning context, advice should be sought on how to share this in other contexts. Moieties, sections and subsections determine an individual s position in the community and the behaviours expected of that individual. Key concepts Identity Cultural understandings Aboriginal peoples Indigenous Australians Personal and family histories Certificate of Aboriginality Choice of identities Implications Identity comes from one s own self-awareness and selfimage. Identity links with the connections of place, people, histories, language(s) and time. Identity is a sensitive issue pertaining to Australian history and the dispossession of Aboriginal peoples. Teachers need to be aware that dispossession of identity is a core component of the colonising process and leads to definitions that are not natural. Be cautious that classroom language does not use identity terminology that dilutes self-awareness and self-image and diminishes the Aboriginal voice. Many Aboriginal people do not like to be referred to as either Aboriginal or Indigenous, as their identity is based on language, land and clan relationships. Language names (e.g. Gungarri, Kooma, Tjabakui and Wiknatanja) or regional names (e.g. Murri, Goori and Bohmah) may be preferred. It is best to consult with the local community for their preferences for identifying people within the area. The Federal Government definition of an Aboriginal person, as defined by the Aboriginal Lands Rights Act 1983, is a person who: is of Aboriginal descent identifies as an Aboriginal person is accepted by the Aboriginal community in which they live. All of the criteria must apply. For educational materials and teaching, it may be relevant to use different names when identifying people, depending on the context. For example, the term Indigenous may be required in a national/international context, whereas Aboriginal may be used for national and state perspectives. Local and regional names may be used when outlining specific cultural, social and land connections of people. Students need to be aware of the different contexts and appropriate use of words and languages. Identification of Aboriginality is a sensitive issue but it provides vital information for governments to provide basic human rights and services in what is the most disadvantaged group of Australians. As a result of (legal) definitions of Aboriginality, government departments now require Aboriginal people to provide proof of Aboriginality to be eligible for financial or other assistance. Many Aboriginal people disagree with this imposed government control, believing this is a continuance of colonisation processes. Proof of identity should not be requested within a classroom 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Handbook

13 context this is a school and community decision. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act also applies to people who identify themselves as Torres Strait Islanders. Questions and statements such as the following are inappropriate, particularly from teachers or in a class setting: How much Aboriginal blood do you have? You re not a quarter-caste. You re not a real Aborigine. You re not even black. You re so exotic. Your family must be really spiritual. It is important to avoid making assumptions about cultural knowledge based on physical appearance, as this can introduce or perpetrate stereotypes and generalisations. For example, do not assume that an individual with dark skin and hair has an intimate knowledge of traditional cultural practice nor that someone with fair skin lacks Indigenous cultural knowledge and experiences. Knowledge, experiences and cultural histories are based on personal and family histories and individual experiences. It is also important to note that some Aboriginal people identify as having bilingual or multilingual and cultural backgrounds. This is as a result of the impact of colonisation, the slave trade and intermarriages with other nationalities, including Torres Strait Islanders, South Sea Islanders and Chinese. Key concepts Knowledge management Cultural understandings Intellectual rights Cultural rights Social and cultural conventions Implications Australian Aboriginal communities maintain specific protocols and lores for managing and maintaining knowledge. Specific family, kinship and social relationships help to determine the roles and responsibilities of managing knowledge on behalf of the family, community or language group. Knowledge management includes: sharing and trading knowledge rights, responsibilities and relationships (who can teach or pass on certain knowledge, and who can receive that knowledge) gaining and maintaining the right to certain types of knowledge, and being able to pass this knowledge on learned knowledge and shared knowledge (some knowledge may be known but must not be discussed) private and public knowledge (what stays within a community and what can be discussed freely). Knowledge management varies from community to community. Conventions, sanctions and punishments (for breaching conventions) may exist. The implications for teachers and students are that they need to be aware and follow the protocols for managing knowledge. Within one community, one particular family may hold the knowledge for a set of secret and sacred art symbols, and other members of the community may know them but may neither paint with these symbols nor teach others about them. Certain dances and stories may be held with other members of the community, while another story might be shared and made public. Source: Adapted from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Teacher Handbook Additional contributors: the Queensland Studies Authority s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies sub-committee 2007, Vicki Turner, Michael Mace, Michael Williams, Terry Green, Robert Ahwing, Billie Scott, Erin McDonald, Education Queensland s Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools (EATSIPS) committee 2007, Will Davis. Queensland Studies Authority June

14 1.2.2 Sensitive issues in Torres Strait Islander cultures This section is for teacher reference only and is not recommended for student use. Teaching aspects of culture, namely traditional practices, spiritual and sacred knowledge, is the responsibility of Torres Strait Islander people only. The organising principle of cultures refers to a broad understanding of Indigenous cultural diversity existing across Australia. This area focuses on facilitating learning experiences that provide a rich understanding of the diversity of Australian Indigenous cultures and their position within Australian society, in the past, the present and the future. Although specific cultural teachings will be conducted through guest speakers, community visits and senior people (such as Elders and Lore people), teachers need to be aware of sensitive issues and practices. In certain circumstances, teachers may need to follow particular protocols that relate to sensitive areas, for example, student relationships, absenteeism or certain curriculum content. Students who take cultural leave may impact on a school s teaching plan. In this event, teachers may need to adjust their teaching practices, especially practical activities and assessment, to avoid disadvantaging either the students or a student s work group. Due to the diversity within and between Torres Strait Islander cultures and Aboriginal cultures, protocols will vary. Teachers need to be aware of sensitive issues and to consult with appropriate local Torres Strait Islander community members and Aboriginal community members to discuss any matters that arise. Knowledge There are two traditional languages in the Torres Strait Islands: Meriam Mer, of the Eastern Islands, and Kalaw Lagaw Ya, of the Near Western Islands. There are three other dialects Kalaw Kawaw Ya, of the top Western Islands; Mabuaig, from the near Western Island of Mabuaig; and Kulkai Gai, of Central Islands but they are barely spoken today. Note for the tables: Cultural and/or language terms are marked according to language. Meriam Mer = MM, spoken in Eastern Islands Kalaw Lagaw Ya = KL, spoken in Near Western Islands Mabuaig = Mab., spoken in near Western Island of Mabuaig Kalaw Kawaw Ya = KKY, spoken in the top Western Islands Kulkai Gai = KG, spoken in Central Islands Creole = cr Pidgin = pg 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Handbook

15 Key concepts Secret and/or sacred knowledge Gumik Lu (MM) Gumi Ngulayg (Mab. & KKY) Cultural knowledge Gumik-Zogo Pardar (MM) (knowledge) Cultural understandings Secret and sacred cultural knowledge could relate to: social law special places ceremonies. Implications Secret and sacred knowledge refers to the body of knowledge that is maintained and continued through the oral tradition, and which is apparent during ceremonies. As a key cultural protocol this knowledge is inside knowledge that is not publicly shared with people outside of the specified family group in which it is contained and maintained. It is inappropriate to ask about this knowledge or to discuss it outside the context where the knowledge is used. Where this knowledge has been shared within specified contexts it may not be transferred into another context, e.g. represented within an assessment item. Cultural knowledge refers to the knowledge that is shared within a Torres Strait Islander community for the maintenance of stories, beliefs and lore systems. Some of this knowledge may not be sacred or secret and may be shared amongst people outside of the group, whilst some of this knowledge is protected through rights of access, passage and kinship relationships. Historical, social, anthropological and scientific research over the history of Australia has seen the removal of both secret and sacred knowledge and cultural knowledge from Indigenous communities. This may be found within books, particularly historical texts. Following community protocol, this material should be restricted from student use and, when appropriate, returned to the local community from where the material was sourced. If identifying the community of origin is not possible, it is recommended that the resource be deposited in the National Association for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Key concepts Men s Business Kimiar Dorge (MM) Women s Business Koskir Dorge (MM) Cultural understandings Implications ceremonies rites of passage initiation education increase (to do with food sources / sustenance) Business is used to describe the responsibilities and obligations of both men and women. In the literature there is a dichotomy between Men s Business and Women s Business. Both are valid and are an integral part of the social framework. At all times the practice relating to Men s Business and Women s Business should be seen as separate. However, these roles, responsibilities and relationships within the community are balanced, and should be expressed as equally valid and integral parts of the social and cultural lives of peoples of, and from, the Torres Straits. The relationships between Men s Business and Women s Business are underpinned by a central ethos that validates and substantiates the completeness and wholeness of Torres Strait Islander ceremonies. Queensland Studies Authority June

16 Key concepts Death Eud (MM), Um (Mab. & KKY) Mourning Phases of mourning Cultural understandings Bad or sad news Okasosok (MM) Tombstone openings Kulaw Gudpuday (Mab. & KKY) Special roles for people to coordinate the tombstone opening, e.g. Gizu Mabaig (Mab. & KKY) Tombstone feasts Bakir Auskir or Bakir leuer (MM) Implications People related to the deceased are required to fulfil certain obligations in the funerary ceremonies. These vary from group to group. Time and length of mourning periods and ceremonies differ from community to community, and family to family. Indigenous students may be absent for days or weeks during these periods, and guest speakers may not be available. Tombstone openings and associated ceremonies are sacred to the Torres Straits. Marigadth (Mab. & KKY), Nauet (MM) refers to a person or people related to the deceased by marriage who is given the honour to perform certain duties in the funerary ceremonies before, during and after the funeral. Key concepts Language avoidance Mir Mamorser (MM), Ya Uradhan (Mab.) and Ya Wardhan (KKY) Avoidance behaviour Ake ker-ake ker (MM) Cultural understandings Taboo relations, e.g. mother-in-law / sonin-law avoidance Avoidance behaviour Implications Embedded within Torres Strait languages are particular terms that imply certain obligations, responsibilities and actions toward family and others. Every community has different protocols for relating, and these must be acknowledged. For example, in some Torres Strait Islander communities a son-in-law may not talk directly to his mother-in-law. Similarly, non-indigenous teachers and students may need to go through a particular process to meet with senior people or knowledge holders within the community. Key concepts Kinship Nosik (MM); Kulka (Mab. & KKY) Cultural understandings Preferred specific names or classificatory terms, e.g. mum, dad, sister, brother Kus (affectionate term, MM) Implications Kinship describes the family relationships and ties within a community. Kinship rules and lores in Torres Strait communities are diverse and rooted in history and traditions. Some communities maintain strong traditional kinship ties, while others maintain kinship ties based on social and family histories. Some kinship ties are a product of protection and assimilation policies. For example, people who were removed to a mission or government-run settlement may have spent a lifetime in a dormitory together. Although they may not be related by blood, these relationships have responsibilities and obligations similar to blood-related and traditional kinship ties. Teachers need to be aware of each student s kinship and family relations, including terms of reference within the family, other language use, and family and community obligations. For example, although a family relationship may not seem close in a Western frame of reference it may be the cousin s brother who passed away the student s kinship tie to this person may determine a significant role within a mourning ceremony. Respect needs to be given to these relationships. 14 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Handbook

17 Language names / special expressions for particular terms of kinship are specific to each family/clan group Language terms for describing kinship are often complicated. It is important to show respect for naming and reference protocols. In some communities there are no direct references to relations such as uncles or cousins : the terms used are mother s brother, father s brother, brother, sister, etc. The relationships may be either actual (blood) or classificatory. Each term or classification carries with it expected behaviour and/or responsibility towards that particular kin term. Moieties, sections and subsections determine one s position in society and thus manifest in expected behaviours. There are certain differences for referring to people within the family, e.g. Aka, grandmother, or Athe, grandfather. Key concepts Identity Mabu, Batomer (MM); Lagoelayg (Mab. & KKY) Cultural understandings Implications The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act applies to people who identify themselves as Torres Strait Islanders. The definition of a Torres Strait Islander person by the Federal Government (for example, as defined by the Aboriginal Lands Rights Act 1983), is a person who: is of Torres Strait Islander descent identifies as a Torres Strait Islander person is accepted by the Torres Strait Islander community in which they live. All of the criteria must apply. Neither a person s physical appearance, nor the way that they live are requirements. Identity comes from one s own self-awareness and self-image. Identity is connected with place, people, histories, language(s) and time. Some Torres Strait Islander people identify strongly with their Island roots, including Papua New Guinea. Some Torres Strait Islander people identify with the mainland or home country when discussing their identity. How to refer to people will change depending on the circumstances and personal choices. Some people prefer to be called Torres Strait Islanders others prefer Islanders. Some people prefer local Island names and language names to be used in recognising themselves and their identity. These might include Badulaig, which refers to the people and not their link to the land. It is also important to note that some Torres Strait Islander people identify as having bilingual or trilingual backgrounds. This is because of the impact of colonisation, the slave trade within South Sea Islanders and intermarriages with other nationalities, including Torres Strait Islander, Samoan and Chinese. Many students and community people speak Torres Strait Islander Kriol and one or more home Indigenous languages. The maintenance of these languages is important for Torres Strait Islander people and their use should be respected as they are intrinsically linked to the identity of Torres Strait Islander peoples. Within educational materials and teaching it may be relevant to use different names when identifying people, depending on the context being discussed. For example, a national/international context may require the use of the term Indigenous, whereas Torres Strait Islander may be used for national and state perspectives and local and Island names may be used when outlining specific cultural, social, Island and sea connections of people. Students need to be aware of the different contexts and appropriateness of the use of language within these contexts. As a result of (legal) definitions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queensland Studies Authority June

18 people, government departments now require Torres Strait Islander people to provide proof of Torres Strait Islander ancestry to be eligible for financial or other assistance, e.g. public housing and ABSTUDY. Many Torres Strait Islander people object to this imposed government control, seeing it as a contemporary form of colonisation. Proof of identity should not be requested in a classroom context; this is a school and community decision. It is important not to make assumptions about cultural links and knowledges, e.g. assuming that Torres Strait Islander people who are urbanised or living on the mainland are not practising their cultural heritage. To make assumptions about cultural knowledge tends to strengthen stereotypes and generalisations. Identity is about choice, as well as about bloodlines, personal histories, accountabilities and responsibilities. In some families, different family members may embrace different cultural identities, even though they share the same bloodline, e.g. a woman and her family may not identify as being Torres Strait Islanders, while the woman s sister may not only identify as being a Torres Strait Islander, but may be an active community member. Choices about identity are bound by more than history and must be respected. The impacts of invasion, colonisation, the slave trade, and intermarriages with other nationalities, including Aboriginal, Samoan and Chinese, have resulted in some Torres Strait Islander people identifying as having bilingual or multilingual cultural backgrounds. Key concepts Kinship Nosik (MM); Kus (MM), Kulka (Mab. & KKY) Family Cultural understandings Traditional adoption Gobar Ataruk (MM); Thoerdhay Dagam (Mab.); Kazi Pulgay (KKY) Implications In the Torres Straits traditional or customary adoption practices exist. To fully comprehend the intricate nature of customary adoption practices in Torres Strait Islander cultures, it is vital to have an understanding of the wider family structures of both traditional and contemporary societies. The family formed the basis of social organisation land ownership, trade, warfare, social status, division of labour, marriage and social interaction were defined on the basis of family. This form of social cohesion was strengthened by the practice of traditional adoption. Adoption practices took on a number of different forms and roles that varied from island to island throughout the Torres Strait. In Before Time, customary adoption was always conducted within the extended family so that the adopted child had the same bloodline as the adoptive parents. Adoptions were primarily conducted on one island and took place for a variety of reasons, the common link being to maintain social harmony by the mutual exchange within the extended family. A variety of reasons for adoption exist. The underlying principle of Torres Strait Islander adoption is that giving birth to a child is not necessarily a qualification for nurturing that child. Some of the reasons that may underline customary adoption for Torres Strait Islanders are to: maintain family bloodlines and/or family name by adopting a child from a blood relative give a childless family member (married or otherwise) an opportunity to raise their own child strengthen bonds between two families distribute boys and girls evenly between families who may only have children of one sex 16 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Handbook

19 replace a child who has been adopted out to another family provide company and care for an older relative. For further information on traditional adoption, contact your local Torres Strait Islander community or organisation. It is preferred that traditional adoption processes not be discussed in classes where Torres Strait Islander children are present. Key concepts Time Augadth/Zogo Time Zogo Kerker (MM) Shared Cultural understandings Time periods Spiritual links to land and sea Legends of the Torres Straits Adhiw/Zogo Time Zogo Kerker (MM); Adhiw Thonar (Mab. & KKY) Bipo Bipo Taim (Before Before Time) Au Emeret Kerker (MM); Mina Mina Kulkub Thonar (KKY); Mina Mina Kulba Thonar (Mab.) Bipo Taim (Before Time) Emeret Kerker (Mer); Mina Kulkub Thonar (KKY); Mina Kulba Thonar (Mab.) Implications Augadth/Zogo Time is a worldview only used amongst Torres Strait Islander language groups. It is important to treat the concepts associated with Augadth/Zogo Time with respect. Augadth/Zogo Time affects Torres Strait Islander values and beliefs and their relationship with every living creature and feature of the land, sea and air. Understanding the relationships between land, sea, air and Torres Strait Islander peoples is an essential part of understanding Augadth/Zogo Time and the cultures of Torres Strait Islander peoples. Augadth/Zogo Time continues to relate to the values and beliefs of Torres Strait Islanders in all Australian lifestyles, e.g. urban, rural and Torres Strait Islands. Augadth/Zogo Time is linked with the present. All Indigenous cultures of the world have similar links with spiritual beliefs that determine their actions. Involvement of Torres Strait Islander peoples is essential when discussing Augadth/Zogo Time. If this is not possible, use appropriate resources written by Torres Strait Islander peoples. Consult with local community leaders and advisers of the Torres Strait Islander community in case there are some aspects of Augadth/Zogo Time that are secret/sacred and should not be mentioned. Athe Time Ataiba Kerker (MM); Popuya Thonar (KKY); Athen Thonar (Mab.) Our Time Meriba Kerker (MM); Ngalpan Thonar (KKY); Kedha Thonar (Mab. & KKY) This time period represents the recorded and popular history of the Torres Strait Islander peoples. Totems determine: identity Batomer (MM); Lagoelayg (Mab. & KKY) behaviour Akeker (MM); Pawa (Mab. & KKY) relationships Tebud le or Tebud ea (MM); Yabugub (KKY & Mab.). Totemism is still a valid part of Torres Strait Islander identity and today is observed from the old times to our grandfather s time. This time period represents the living history of the Torres Strait Islander peoples. Sources: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies subcommittee 2007, TSIREC, Romina Fujii, Bua Mabo (Meriam Mer terms), Henry Neill (NATSIEP Resource Officer, Peninsula Region) and Torres Strait Islander community members, including Gabriel Bani, Ned David, and Steve Foster. Queensland Studies Authority June

20 1.3 Language use and terminology Guidelines on appropriate terminology Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies focus on understanding the complexity and diversity of the respective cultures and their lived experiences. Consideration of, and sensitivity towards, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the use of language and terminology facilitates these understandings. Aboriginal studies and Torres Strait Islander studies are not only concerned with historical events and contemporary happenings; more important, they are about people. Consequently, consideration of, and sensitivity towards, Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples are paramount. When referring to the lives, cultures and histories of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples, using preferred terminology demonstrates respect for, and an acknowledgment of, their rights and expectations. Teachers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the language suggested in the appropriate terminology matrix and to regularly consult with their local Aboriginal community and/or Torres Strait Islander community for the preferred terms to be used in their school. The following advice about preferred terminology is based on consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education communities. Appropriate Aboriginal terminology What constitutes preferred terminology can only be suggested as generally representing Aboriginal peoples. Many groups constitute Aboriginal Australia and as more voices are listened to, and enter into, a national conversation regarding Aboriginal issues and situations, so too does terminology change according to these movements. What constitutes a commonality of experience across Australia is the distinct lack of Aboriginal input into terminology of the past and sometimes the present. As a people living under the trauma of invasion and colonisation, terminology is heavily influenced by the belief systems, goals and future of non-indigenous people on Aboriginal land and consequently terms have often favoured non-indigenous society over Indigenous peoples. Terms regarding Aboriginal peoples are layered and intertwined with a history of domination, misunderstanding and misrepresenting Aboriginal knowledge and actions. The following table is an attempt to summarise contemporary general positioning and the journey of terms that are used in relation to Aboriginal peoples. This terminology has had major input from Aboriginal peoples. Despite this, a key Aboriginal principle of community engagement is that all voices must be heard in a community and that no one voice dominates. Thus, a school site must engage with the local Aboriginal community to ensure terminology validity and variance within Aboriginal Australia never assume this text can fully unpack an Aboriginal worldview or be the seminal resource for such terms, although it does represent a satisfactory start. Teachers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the language suggested in the following tables and to consult regularly with their local Aboriginal community for the preferred terms to be used within their schools. Use varies widely, and it is vital to respect the preferences of the local community. It is important to explain this to students, so that they are aware if local use might be offensive in other contexts. 18 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Handbook

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